Dmitrii Emets

Translated from Russian


Jane H. Buckingham

©Jane H. Buckingham 2012


Andrei Andreevich Vorsiankin, with an honest but fractionally sad face, the accountant of the gardened housing community Wave, was returning in an even temper from the cash-and-carry market when he suddenly felt a buzzing, obtrusive movement of thought somewhere in his head. This new feeling so scared Andrei Andreevich that he nearly dropped the bag with margarine and two cans of peas. Then the same mysterious force made Vorsiankin go to a table and pick up a meat grinder. It was a domestic cast grinder with the factory mark “ZMZ” stamped on a leg (beside the screw). The object was absolutely ordinary and hardly an incentive for a purchase. The Ukrainian female vendor’s smile flashed silver and faded. “Why did I pick it up? What do I need it for?” Andrei Andreyevich thought and already wanted to put the meat grinder down when he unexpectedly heard a mysteriously gentle voice, “Don’t, please... I called you!” Vorsiankin nervously glanced sideways at the salesgirl but she was silent, and as if the voice was not from there but from the depths of Andrei Andreevich’s soul. The accountant, to whom nothing exceptional had ever happened besides once palming off three counterfeit hundred-rouble notes in a row, became seriously uneasy. “Who’s talking to me?” “Me, the meat grinder!” “The meat grinder? Do grinders really talk?” “Normal ones not, but I can! I don’t know how or why or where I got it from, but I have a rational mind. I see, hear, think, but incapable of moving!” the grinder sobbed perceptibly. “Whoa, I’ll be...” whispered Vorsiankin. “Can other people hear you?” “Oh no, you’re just special, out of the ordinary! You have a gift!” the grinder replied. “You’re wonderful, reliable, loyal! Buy me, please?” “Why? Already have one,” Vorsiankin was in doubt, never heard so many pleasant words at once. “Does she talk?” the grinder was jealous. “What?” “You see! Then buy me! I beg you. You can’t even imagine how miserable I am in here! Toilet paper and brushes around, stinks of soap!” the grinder exclaimed. It was evident that her nature was excitable and partly poetic. The accountant took off his glasses, breathed on them, and then put them back on. “Hmm... So take it and buy it... And you at least is good at grinding meat? Ground meat, patties, herring?” “Not in the least. The thought of having raw meat in me makes me sick,” the grinder acknowledged with disgust. “Then what can you do?” the accountant was surprised. “Oh! I know how to love. Fiercely, madly, affectionately. First coolly and chastely, then passionately...” “Uh... Kind of quirky...” blushing, the moral Vorsiankin mumbled.
©Jane H. Buckingham 2012


“Of course, all this is in the highest spiritual sense! I am what I am, namely a meat grinder and will never turn into a princess,” the grinder specified. “Like it? I’ll be your muse, your angel. I’ll dictate a sonnet, whisper brilliant novels, heal emotional wounds...” “Write detective novels?” Andrei Andreevich thought disapprovingly. “Do you know how to calculate? Value added tax? Pension funds? Tax returns?” “Click-click,” the computer keyboard said. “Clack-clack,” the calculator said. “I’m above it, above this filth! I will love you, faithfully, devotedly!” the meat grinder muttered, luxuriating in passion. “Every day I’ll wait until you come from work, and when you’re not here, I’ll imagine your arms, your face, your beautiful bald spot...” “WHAT?!” Andrei Andreevich turned ruddy. “Sorry, I just wanted to emphasize that I’ll love everything about you! Regardless of anything... Really not a dream come true?” the meat grinder corrected itself. “Be more careful with definitions!” Vorsiankin softened. “You simply can’t imagine how eternal loneliness depresses me, how I want to belong to someone, to love someone...” the grinder muttered enthusiastically. “A woman like me cannot, should not be alone... Please buy me! My dear, faithful, gentle... Nobody loves you, you know.” “What nobody? My wife?” Andrei Andreevich started to panic. “Don’t kid yourself! Is she the woman you dreamt about? Her? She’s cold, aloof, quarrelsome...” “Hmm-mm... but you’re the one?” “Oh-h! I’m the one! But I’m trapped in this frozen grotesque body, with this arm, this screw...” “This is already too much... Don’t go too far... For you I’m this... not the blue moon,” the suspicious Vorsiankin had his doubts. “ANDREI!!! Don’t be vulgar! I’ll be the only bright spot in your life! Your girlfriend, lover, your dream!” the grinder exclaimed in pain, in horror. “Well, don’t grovel... How much are you?” Vorsiankin wavered. “Don’t know, I’m not good with numbers. All these ones, zeros... Find out from the vendor!” Andrei Andreevich coughed and, turning to the vendor, asked hesitantly, “Miss... How much for this... this here?” “Three ten. And without a box,” said the salesgirl. The accounting streak jumped in Vorsiankin. “Click-click,” said the computer keyboard. “Clack-clack,” said the calculator. “Why three ten?” he protested. “For this here!” “Pah, and don’t you get excited, Mister! I’d give it to you for a song, but not my goods!” the salesgirl said with a soft Ukrainian accent. “I know your song...” “Ransom me from bondage! I beg you, my love! Ransom me! It’s disgusting here, I feel wretched, I’m dying of disgust and loneliness! Everyone sees me only as a meat grinder, but only you... you’re able to see the other me,” the grinder implored. Bygone and joyous feelings mouldy from inaction stirred in Vorsiankin’s soul dried up by figures, but the thought of three hundred unplanned roubles made them wither away.
©Jane H. Buckingham 2012


“Please don’t block the display!” said the salesgirl. “This is robbery! If there was a box, but without a box... How do I know, perhaps it has something contagious...” said Andrei Andreevich, struggling and casting a wistful glance at the bus stop. “Pah, contagious...” the salesgirl threw up her hands. “What, am I forcing you?” “Two hundred,” said Vorsiankin, challenging the keyboard and the calculator. “Three ten!” “Well, two fifty... okay, three hundred... why three ten? Why the ten?” exclaimed the accountant. “Are you deaf? What language do you speak?” The stupid woman had clearly gone overboard. So had Vorsiankin. It was not the ten roubles. It was the principle by which he lived that was outraged. “What’s with you! Take action! If you can’t buy, then steal! It’ll be romantic! Grab a hold of me and run! Run! They won’t catch up!” the grinder cried out in concern and fear. “What next! So that they’d take me to the cops because of you! Look what an extremist you are... No, my dear, you lie here some more, let someone else buy you,” Vorsiankin was indignant. The criminal code loomed in the accountant’s cowed consciousness. Inciting him to thief, the meat grinder had made an unforgivable mistake. Andrei Andreevich backed away like a crab carried away against his will by a wave and then returned, and, ducking his head quickly, scurried off to catch the bus. “Damn you! You can’t just leave!” the grinder shouted after him. “If you don’t buy me, I’ll die, perish! This was my only chance to speak with someone! Oh, unlucky me, why did I choose you? I could give myself to another, you know, someone young and bright, not you old bald fogy! Stop, you can’t abandon me here! Damn it! You’ll be cursed, unloved, dried up! I was your destiny!” The grinder prayed, whined, howled, and threatened, talking about loneliness and love, but Andrei Andreevich did not hear it. Hugging the mayonnaise and the peas, he hurried away, away, away... “Click-click,” said the computer keyboard. “Clack-clack,” said the calculator. They won.

©Jane H. Buckingham 2012

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful